Here’s one I haven’t yet cracked: why do I buy store candy every year? I hate buying it.
I resent giving my money to some multinational to buy cheap chocolate doctored with vegetable oil. I resent funding child labor on cacao plantations. And where we live, we barely get any trick-or-treaters in the first place.
Every year, I agonize about store candy for most of October. And then, at the last minute, I go out and get it anyway.
I always buy the same two kinds of candy: Number 1, I buy Andes mints, because I feel nostalgic for the smoke-filled Howard Johnsons of my youth. And Number 2, I get Kit Kats, because we all like them even though they leave us with the breath of carrion eaters. I put the Kit Kats and the Andes mints in a basket, where their red and green color scheme looks like Christmas, not Halloween. Then we leave the house so my kids can trick-or-treat the next town over. In the rare event anyone does stop by our house, there’s usually no one here to answer the door. So every November 1st, 95% of the Kit Kats and mints are untouched. I throw them in the freezer and there they stay till Easter, steadily dwindling in number and tainting our breath.
The irony here is that Halloween is when you’re supposed to confront the things you avoid all year. You’re supposed to laugh at death. You’re supposed to plunge into the early darkness armed only with a flashlight, whistling past the graveyard. Yet year after year, I have somehow nimbly avoided confronting my darkest feelings about store candy.
Even though the Kit Kats and Andes mints have already become a highly anticipated family tradition, I can’t seem to change the facts: Store candy is bad for your health, it’s bad social justice, and it doesn’t even taste good after the first 30 seconds.
So this year, I’m gonna do it: I’m boycotting store candy. How will this happen, you ask? Well, I’d like to say that I’ll make some kind of homemade treat and tie it up in crafty-looking, hand-sewn bags. But we all know that’s not gonna happen. I could skip candy and just hand out party favors, like pumpkin-shaped erasers. But that’s lame, and besides, my problem isn’t with candy generally. My problem is with the poor quality of store candy, and the nefarious profit motive behind it.
If I buy anything at all, I’ll probably end up getting some kind of obscure miniature fair-trade chocolate bar. It might cost a little more. So be it. It’s probably time I put my money where my mouth is. Maybe this one choice can make a difference–even if it’s a difference that is very small, a little dark, and definitely bittersweet.